Tuesday, August 28, 2007
The Rise And Fall of Skip To My Lou
Damn, Skip stays losing. Blaze already tackled this subject on his blog, On top of the World, but let me delve a little deeper.
Rockets guard Rafer Alston, better known through the playground moniker of "Skip To My Lou", was arrested yesterday in New York for allegedly being involved in the stabbing of some random dude in a nightclub.
This is Rafer's, who is from Queens, NY, second assault arrest in three weeks. Dude got anger issues.
In this latest fuckup..er, arrest, a member of Skip's entourage got into an argument with a 41-year-old man (what are 41-year-old dudes doing in the club, anyway?) and it turned into a brawl. (Side note: when will athletes learn that entourages are only good on HBO?)
What's up with Skip? He's been mild-mannered since he came to Houston in 2005. He hasn't gotten into any big trouble, no arrests. Shit, he didn't even try to pull a Sprewell on Jeff Van Gundy while he was here. He's been a model citizen and teammate. Has Rafer become Snap To My Lou?
I think it's the fact that he's seen his career go from solid starter on a playoff team to possible fourth stringer in the span of four months. After the Rockets were bounced from the first round of the playoffs by the Utah Jazz in early May, new GM Daryl Morey went about an obvious path to dramatically improve the point guard position, Rafer's position. He traded Juwan Howard for Mike James, drafted Aaron Brooks in the first round, and signed former franchise (pun intended) guard Steve Francis in consecutive months. Skip's ego should be in Ja Rule-mode right now.
After his first arrest this month, it pretty much sealed his fate in Houston. He wasn't good enough to match up with the other elite guards in the West, we upgraded the position x3, then he turns around and publicly fucks up -- this dude must think he's Ron-Ron or something. What's up with Queens?
It wasn't always like this, though. When I was in the ninth grade, Skip To My Lou was the main focus of the
classic first And 1 mixtape that swept through hoods everywhere. It showed him balling at Rucker Park in real games, not the manufactured, commercial mess it is now.
That tape pretty much had me. I watched it as soon as I got home from school everyday, before I went to the park. But it was more than the playground stuff for me. I researched him and found out that not only did he start at Fresno State for a while, he was featured on the cover of Slam Magazine and was in the league, playing for the Milwaukee Bucks.
He became somebody to root for. Sure, he was a third-string pg in Milwaukee (behind Sam Cassell and Vinny Del Negro). Sure, he was known as just a playground streetballer whose game would never adapt to the NBA system. We watched and waited, hoping that he would get a chance to be that 16-year-old kid from Queens in that sketchy videotape no one could stop watching. It never came. This was a good thing.
He stayed with the Bucks for a couple more years before playing in the NBA Developmental League. He signed a 10-day contract with the Raptors in 2003 and played well. He solidified his spot in the league when he signed with the Miami Heat in 2003, playing the backup role for a suprising Heat playoff squad. He then hit it big, signing back with Toronto for a guaranteed six years, a long way from being a second-round pick that supposedly wasn't going to make it in the league.
He was traded to Houston for Mike James in 2005 after clashing with head coach Sam Mitchell. We were happy to have him. I was happy to have him. It all came full circle, I thought. The playground legend I loved watching was now balling for my city, my team. We were going to do big things with Skip at the point. *sighs*
Two years, no championship, no second-round, a lot of public spectacles of abuse from opposing point guards, and now two embarrassing arrests. Starting point guards don't do buck 50s across old men's necks, allegedly. (Of course, if he would've slashed a canine's jugular, David Stern would have him thrown out of the league, pronto. Remember kids, you can harm innocent people all you want, just don't hurt any animals. Got it. Ok.)
The larger issue looming is, what kind of value does he have now? Teams obviously know the Rockets are shopping (re: trying to get rid of him at all costs) him, and they all justifiably have the upper hand in any deal Morey tries to do. He's scheduled to make $4.5 million this year. Do we buy him out?
I don't know, we just have to get him out of here. This isn't a Michael Vick-type fall from grace, here. He was never going to lead us anywhere, anyway.
Besides, Skip To My Lou will live in playground basketball fans forever. Rafer Alston is pretty much dead to me.